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Patch 1.20.1 - End of the world(of tanks), or neat changes?

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In short: there are new crew changes on the horizon. NOT crew 2.0, but they are reworking the skills and perks within the current crew system. This has a lot of people up in arms claiming the sky is falling. Others are more nuanced. A few (me) kind of like the changes.

WoT+ is a new form of monetization. Would allow for free demounting of bond equipment, and offers a unique rental premium tank. Otherwise mostly pay for convenience stuff. Something like $10 a month.

And changes to Onslaught mode, and dynamic maps.

What do you think? Will this make WoT a dead(er) game? Maybe even as dead as this forum?

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I don't play anymore, but I've followed it. I think it's pretty trash. They're accomplishing the same goal as the original 2.0 plan, which is to extend the value of grinding out crews, but without any of the things that made 2.0 at least interesting. To add insult to injury, they also don't seem to have any plan to let you liquidate crew members into XP as they did in 2.0, which is ruination for players like me that kept lots of less skilled crews instead of a fewer number of higher skilled crews. I think it was Rexxie that noted, if you did the crews the way I did you might as well quit the game because your crews are going to be noticeably worse than a lot of players.

Basically as I said when they introduced 2.0, people weren't buying this crap, so they had to find a new shell game before implementing it. This is the new shell game, and it's just a worse version of the original.

As far as it hurting the game, I mean, who are they even kidding at this point. The numbers have been ticking down for years. They're at the stage of the MMO lifespan where they've added so many confusing and convoluted features that new players are overwhelmed and turned off. New players may not explicitly know what disadvantage they're at, because you need deep knowledge of the game to see it, but they can probably feel it. Anecdotally, I have a friend that tried tanks for the first time a few years ago and complained that he just got blown up every game before he knew what was happening.

Wargaming is catering so hard to their core addict base by tossing out new ways to keep them grinding and interested that the game is now in the inevitable MMO death loop where new players just keep decreasing while they wring more delicious whale oil from the ancient players by selling them power. Eventually there will be no new seals to club and the game will just be another esoteric niche MMO that no one has heard of.

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As is usual with WG, there are some good aspects to what they are doing, but they go way overboard with some absolute trash aspects that usually outweigh the good.

Firstly, I like the idea of making all crew skills useful and for there being more choice. This is an important step given that the choices are pretty limited at the moment because some are close to useless or so situational as to be close to useless. I also like the idea of all skills/perks starting to have some effect up to their maximum while you grind them, that's an important step too.

In terms of the re-worked skills themselves, there is some good and some bad. Anything that boosts the 'major qualification' skills is in my opinion a bad idea because of their cumulative effect on all other stats of your tank, including the oh-so-critical 'hidden' stats such as ground resistances, that cannot otherwise be improved through equipment. These are often not transparent to newer players and contribute to the creation of extremely wide variances in vehicle performance.

The biggest issue is having so many new useful skills, but then not capping the maximum number of skills that a crew can have. Yes, the experience requirements are ridiculous to train skills past a certain point, but this still rewards people who literally throw everything (especially $$$) into that one or two crews to just boost them to ridiculous levels. With the utility of many of the new crews, the difference in power between say a 6 or 7 skill crew (which we know exist, even if they are not common) and a 3 or 4 skill crew (the vast majority for most players) will be absolutely massive. See, if you say capped skills at 5 for a crew, you can have many powerful skills because players are then faced with actual choice and trade-offs in terms of what features to maximise or weaknesses to mitigate based on the specifics of the tank, instead of just choosing 'whatever' and eventually grinding their way to everything that they want.

The changes also take no consideration of the differences in numbers of people in each crew. A crew with 5 or 6 members is heavily favoured compared to one with just 3 because of the exponential increase in experience required per level. They can get more useful skills quicker.

When you combine that with the new WoT+ which has a very clear pay-to-win component specifically focused on crew training, it then becomes clear that WG is more concerned about the monetisation opportunities with huge XP grind rather than balancing the game. I think this is very obvious that they are into the full end-game now, which makes sense as the tier 8 premium market is at complete saturation point, and the rate at which they keep on pumping out new tier 9 and 10 reward/premium tanks means they will hit saturation for that much quicker than they did for tier 8 too. They need another way to make money from this game and WoT+ for dedicated XP-grinders seems to be the choice.

I'll keep playing, as I still am, as the overall mucking about in randoms is still that quick, pretty mindless stress reliever that I look for in my main gaming outlet, but I'm under no illusions that as I won't spend much money on the game, I will continue to fall behind the dedicated whales.

EDIT - 20 April 2023:


WG have been forced to back down. Again. On the changes to crew skills and introducing new crew skills. I honestly cannot remember the last time they have tried to put something into the game and had to abandon it twice (probably something arty related to be honest, but I cannot quite remember). Hopefully having had to back down twice that they realise they actually need to re-think seriously how they are going to get these changes in.

As I said above, I think the method of doing this is to actually cap the maximum number of crew skills that each crew member can have. In my opinion this greatly reduces the gap between existing and new players (which in the public statement in the portal they indicate was the number one push-back from players) because it places a cap on how far ahead the existing players can get before their progress stalls and new players are able to eventually start capping up, while also allowing you to have lots of powerful/good/useful skills and introducing genuine choice for players. On reflection I realise there is then the issue of tanks with fewer crew members being disadvantaged with a cap, so maybe it is a case where the maximum number of skills or 'active' skills is capped based on the total number of crew members in the vehicle - so for example a 7 person tank allows each crew member to have say 5 active skills, whereas a 3 person tank allows each crew member to have 7 or 8 active skills.

They have walked back on the free bond dismounting for WoT+ which is a positive, but in my opinion the obvious pay-to-win component of the crew training is potentially a bigger problem if they never end up capping maximum crew skills, as given the exponential increases in XP requirements, passive XP gain is just too powerful/useful.

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They were talking about adding more crew skills what, a decade ago now?  Would have been welcome additions if they'd struck when the iron was hot back in '14-'16.  At best, it's nothing but lipstick on a rotten boar carcass now.  It's not going to bring players back or attract new blood because it doesn't address any of the issues why those players left.  Maybe if the game lasts for another half-decade, they'll finally get around to addressing those issues too.

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On 4/5/2023 at 9:51 PM, Panzergraf said:

WoT+ is a new form of monetization.

New for us, common deal for World of Tanks China.

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